I am suddenly very awake, my erotic dream forgotten.
“I was on my front. I must have turned over in my sleep.” I whisper weakly in my defense.
His eyes blaze with fury. He reaches down, scoops up my bikini top from his sun lounger and tosses it at me.
“Put this on!” he hisses.
“Christian, no one is looking.”
“Trust me. They’re looking. I’m sure Taylor and the security crew are enjoying the show!” he snarls.
Holy shit! Why do I keep forgetting about them? I grasp my breasts in panic, hiding them. Ever since Charlie Tango’s sabotaged demise, we are constantly shadowed by damned security.
“Yes,” Christian snarls. “And some sleazy fucking paparazzi could get a shot of you, too. Do you want to be all over the cover of Star magazine? Naked this time?”
Shit! The paparazzi! Fuck! As I hurriedly scramble into my top, all thumbs, the color drains from my face. I shudder. The unpleasant memory of being be-sieged by the paparazzi outside SIP after our engagement was leaked comes unwelcome to mind—all part of the Christian Grey package.
“L’addition!” Christian snaps at the passing waitress. “We’re going,” he says to me.
Oh shit, he’s not to be argued with.
He pulls on his shorts, even though his trunks are dripping wet, then his gray T-shirt. The waitress is back in a moment with his credit card and the check.
Reluctantly, I wriggle into my turquoise sundress and step into my flip-flops.
Once the waitress has left, Christian snatches up his book and BlackBerry and masks his fury behind mirrored aviator glasses. He’s bristling with tension and anger. My heart sinks. Every other woman on the beach is topless—it’s not that big of a crime. In fact I look odd with my top on. I sigh inwardly, my spirits sinking. I thought Christian would see the funny side . . . sort of . . . maybe if I’d stayed on my front, but his sense of humor has evaporated.
“Please don’t be mad at me,” I whisper, taking his book and BlackBerry from him and placing them in my backpack.
“Too late for that,” he says quietly—too quietly. “Come.” Taking my hand, he signals up to Taylor and his two sidekicks, the French security officers Philippe and Gaston. Weirdly, they are identical twins. They have been patiently watching us and everyone else on the beach from the verandah. Why do I keep forgetting about them? How? Taylor is stony-faced behind his dark glasses. Shit, he’s mad at me, too. I’m still not used to seeing him so casually dressed in shorts and a black polo shirt.
Christian leads me into the hotel, through the lobby, and out onto the street.
He remains silent, brooding and bad-tempered, and it’s all my fault. Taylor and his team shadow us.
“Where are we going?” I ask tentatively, gazing up at him.
“Back to the boat.” He doesn’t look at me.
I have no idea of the time. I think it must be about five or six in the afternoon.
When we reach the marina, Christian leads me onto the dock where the motorboat and Jet Ski belonging to the Fair Lady are moored. As Christian unties the Jet Ski, I hand my backpack to Taylor. I glance nervously up at him, but like Christian, his expression gives nothing away. I flush, thinking about what he’s seen on the beach.
“Here you go, Mrs. Grey.” Taylor passes me a life vest from the motorboat, and I dutifully put it on. Why am I the only one who has to wear a life jacket?
Christian and Taylor exchange some kind of look. Jeez, is he angry with Taylor, too? Christian then checks the straps on my life jacket, cinching the middle one tightly.
“You’ll do,” he mutters sullenly, still not turning to look at me. Shit.
He climbs gracefully on to the Jet Ski and holds out his hand for me to join him. Grasping it tightly, I manage to throw my leg over the seat behind him without falling into the water while Taylor and the twins clamber into the motorboat. Christian kicks the Jet Ski away from the dock, and it floats gently into the marina.
“Hold on,” he orders, and I put my arms around him. This is my favorite part of traveling by Jet Ski. I hug him closely, my nose nuzzling into his back, marveling that there was a time when he would not have tolerated me touching him this way. He smells good . . . of Christian and the sea. Forgive me, Christian, please?
He stiffens. “Steady,” he says, his tone softer. I kiss his back and rest my cheek against him, looking back toward the dock where a few holidaymakers have gathered to watch the show.
Christian turns the key and the motor roars to life. With one twist of the accelerator, the Jet Ski bucks forward and speeds across the cool dark water, through the marina and out to the center of the harbor toward the Fair Lady. I hold him tighter. I love this—it’s so exciting. Every muscle in Christian’s lean frame is evident as I cling to him.
Taylor pulls alongside in the motorboat. Christian glances at him then accelerates again, and we shoot forward, whipping over the top of the water like an expertly tossed pebble. Taylor shakes his head in resigned exasperation and heads straight to the yacht, while Christian shoots past the Fair Lady and heads out toward the open water.
The sea spray is splashing us, the warm wind buffeting my face and flaying my ponytail crazily around me. This is so much fun. Maybe the thrill of this ride will dispel Christian’s bad mood. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s enjoying himself—carefree, acting his age for a change.
He steers in a huge semicircle and I study the shoreline—the boats in the marina, the mosaic of yellow, white and sand-colored offices and apartments, and the craggy mountains behind. It looks so disorganized—not the regimented blocks that I am used to—but so picturesque. Christian glances over his shoulder at me, and there’s the ghost of a smile playing on his lips.